Chocolate spot is the commonest fungal disease of broad beans. Initially, it produces reddish-brown, round spots on all above ground parts of the plant. These become much larger, irregularly shaped and a chocolate brown colour, spreading further over the plant as the disease progresses throughout spring.
As the disease develops, the leaves shrivel and die, flowers are affected resulting in a poor or no crop, and severe infections on the stem can cause the plant to collapse.
The disease is more prominent during cool, humid weather – especially from late winter, on autumn-sown crops, to spring – and where plants are crowded too thickly together.
In gardens, chocolate spot only attacks broad beans – other beans are unaffected. Although it can attack bean species used as a green manure crop, such as winter field beans.